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From luxury properties to townhomes, the Canadian real estate market has witnessed monumental growth over the last year. Across the country, sales activity and home valuations have been climbing at levels never seen before, buoyed by strong demand, low inventory and historically low interest rates. These are the dominant trends, whether you’re house-hunting in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia or Halifax, Nova Scotia.
But one of the most riveting developments in the Canadian real estate market since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic has been the substantial price increases for cottage properties. While cottage country markets across the country have typically witnessed high demand during the summer months, evolving consumer trends are pointing to sustained interest throughout the year in rural communities.
Since more people are working from home, professionals are setting their sights on lakefront cottages, chalets in the mountains or cabins in the woods, away from the hustle and bustle of major urban centres. But as homeowners cash in on their big-city properties, they are using their high equity to outbid buyers (including local residents and their fellow out-of-town buyers) and driving up cottage prices in the process. Many forecasts suggest that this impressive growth will continue through 2021 and potentially heading into 2022.
Has the Canadian real estate market been permanently altered as more households shy away from hyper-dense metropolitan areas to embrace the charm of quiet small-town life? The answer might be reflected in the numbers across multiple recreational housing markets from coast to coast.
Prices for Cottage Properties in Canadian Real Estate Market Soar
If you are currently trying rent a cottage in rural Ontario, you may be out of luck as the vast majority are fully booked for the rest of 2021. Similarly, if you’re keen to buy a cottage in Atlantic Canada, be prepared to put up a fight thanks to swelling levels of demand as a result of out-of-province buyers and cheap borrowing costs.
Here are some of the figures of what homebuyers can expect to face as they seek shelter in Canada’s recreational property markets:
Kawartha Lakes, Ontario (March 2021 / year-over-year)
- Residential non-waterfront sales: +87.7%
- Residential waterfront sales: +223.1%
- Median price for residential non-waterfront properties: +44.7% to $606,000
- Median price for residential waterfront properties: +64.5% to $872,000
Georgian Bay, Ontario (March 2021 / yoy)
- Residential sales: +106.1%
- Benchmark price for single-family homes: +43.6% to $617,900
Sunshine Coast, British Columbia (December 2020 / yoy)
- Residential sales: +82%
- Median price of residential properties: +7.8% to $830,000
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (March 2021 / yoy)
- Residential sales: +79.2%
- MLS® Home Price Index (HPI): +12.1% to $183,100
Prince Edward Island (March 2021 / yoy)
- Residential sales: +81.7%
- Average price of homes sold: +21.9% to $330,121
Lethbridge, Alberta (March 2021 / yoy)
- Single-detached home sales: +59.6%
- Median sale price for single-detached homes: +14% to $335,000
What to Expect for Cottage Real Estate Moving Forward?
Whether you desire to go fishing on a lake or sip coffee on the patio of your waterfront property, be prepared to open your wallet wide. Cottage country prices are still expected to increase, especially now that the busy spring and summer home-buying season has arrived. This historically active period is anticipated to be busier than ever before. At the very least, prices are expected to continue rising.
Like Toronto or Vancouver, cottage areas are experiencing low inventory. A dramatic supply imbalance is leading to bidding wars for active and new listings. While this was unheard-of just a few short years ago, it has become the norm in many recreational communities across Canada. Work-from-home arrangements, the demand for less-densified areas and larger living spaces paired with ultra low interest rates are the key drivers of this unprecedented growth within destinations that would be difficult to spot on a map.
As the Financial Post wrote in February, “Cottage country is the new battleground for housing bidding wars.” Although cottage country housing will still appeal to city slickers following the COVID-19 pandemic, the market could eventually normalize, write Murtaza Haider, a Ryerson University professor, and Stephen Moranis a real estate industry veteran.
“Once more housing is made available by prospective sellers, who have been patiently watching the markets from the sidelines, cottage country markets are likely to return to calmer conditions to match the serene and tranquil environments that distinguish them,” they said.
Until then, cottage country is no longer just the focus of retirees searching for the quiet life in their golden years, or families seeking fun in the summer sun. Young professional couples who only need a reliable Internet connection to work are expected to become a key driver of the cottage country housing market for the foreseeable future, whether in the Sunshine Coast or Atlantic Canada.
Courtesy of REMAX.ca
440 Harrop Dr
Great Opportunity To Own A Full Renovated, 5,200Sq Ft (2,600 Per Floor), Well Built 2-Story Office Building In A Prime Milton Location. Very Close To 401 As Well As Residential Areas For Strong Exposure To Customer Base And Ease Of Access. Main Floor Has 6 Offices, 2 New Baths, Waiting Rm/Kitchenette. Second Floor Has 2 Offices, Open Concept Office Space, Reception And 3 Baths. A Solid Investment In Prime Area.
68 Abell St
Bedrooms: 1 + 1
Square Footage: 500-599
What are the home renovations that buyers want to see on the market? It’s a great question, and one you’ve likely pored over if you’re preparing to list your home for sale in the near future, or you’re embarking on a renovation with a thought to long-term resale value. According to the 2021 RE/MAX Renovation Investment Report, more than half of Canadians underwent a home renovation for personal/non-ROI purposes, with 29% choosing to renovate for non-essential “lifestyle” reasons, such as recreation-inspired projects. Despite the trend of renovating for personal use and enjoyment, 59% of Canadians said they always consider the return on investment that a renovation will have on their home’s overall market value, so while there is a current renovation trend based on lifestyle aspirations, practicality is never far from the surface. From the homebuyer’s perspective, certain renovations are more in-demand than others.
So, what are the best home improvements to sell your home quicker and for top dollar? According to a survey of RE/MAX brokers across Canada, below is a list of what homebuyers want most. We’ve also sourced the ballpark costs for each, via Pillar To Post’s Residential Construction and Remodeling Estimates Cost Guide, to give you a rough idea of the level of investment required for each.
6 HOME RENOVATIONS THAT BUYERS WANT
93.5% of RE/MAX brokers surveyed said kitchen renovations are most sought-after by homebuyers. The kitchen is typically the most complicated room in the home to renovate, and the most expensive. Many homebuyers who aren’t interested in taking on a big project will pay a premium to have this big project done for them. Depending on the age and condition of the home, kitchen updates can range from a complete gut job, to updates such as refacing or repainting cabinets, new hardware and appliances, countertop, backsplash and flooring.
- kitchen cabinets: $50 to $125 per linear ft.
- kitchen counter, laminate: $45 per linear ft.
- kitchen counter, marble: $80 per linear ft.
- dishwasher: $675 to $950
- garbage disposal: $200 to $425
- range hood: $350 to $525
- porcelain sink: $750 to $900
- stainless steel sink: $650 to $800
- total cost: $7,500+
64.5% of RE/MAX brokers said new or updated bathrooms are in high demand by homebuyers. This trend echoes the above-mentioned kitchen reno rationale, whereby homebuyers who are unwilling to undergo the effort and inconvenience of a bathroom renovation willing to pay a premium to have this project already completed.
- cabinets $50 to $125 per linear ft.
- countertop, laminate: $45 per linear ft.
- countertop, marble: $80 per linear ft.
- pedestal basin: $375
- vanity basin: $250
- bathtub – replace / retile: $2,500+
- shower connection: $250
- shower stall, plastic: $900 to $2,000
- shower stall, ceramic tile: $2,500 to $3,300
- new toilet: $425
- tub enclosure, ceramic tile: $2,500 to $3,300
- tub enclosure, plastic: $600 to $1,275
- whirlpool bath: $4,250
- total cost: $5,250+
48.4% of RE/MAX brokers identified new flooring as a hot selling feature on the resale market. Depending on the size of the home and the scope of work being done, flooring would typically cost less than a kitchen and bathroom reno, but this is a great way to refresh the home, especially when paired with a fresh coat of paint. Carpet is actually considered to be a drawback by some homebuyers, so this is an update that’s worth completing prior to listing a home for sale.
- carpet cleaning: $125 per room
- carpet and underpad: $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
- ceramic tile: $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
- hardwood $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
- prefinished hardwood: $11 to $16 per sq. ft.
- refinishing hardwood: $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
- vinyl sheets: $4 to $9 per sq. ft.
- vinyl tile: $4 to $9 per sq. ft.
35.5% of RE/MAX brokers said buyers want a fresh coat of paint. This is a relatively simple and low-budget upgrade that makes a big impact on the look and feel (and sometimes, smell) of a property. Given the current seller’s market conditions in many regions across Canada, homes are selling like hotcakes, regardless of renovations. With this in mind, home sellers in particularly hot markets, like Toronto and Vancouver, are keeping their reno efforts (and budgets) to a minimum. Paint is the simplest and cheapest way to freshen up the place.
- Painting walls (3 coats): $2 per sq. ft.
#5 Finished basement
22.6% of brokers identified basement renovations as a huge selling feature on the resale market. Quite simply, if it increases the usable square footage of the home, that’s a good thing in homebuyers’ books.
- adding basement entrance: $5,250 to $10,500
- basement main beam: $2,100
basement support post / foundation: $500 to $1,000
- excavation / waterproofing: $125 to $175 per sq. ft.
- foundation crack repair (excavation method): $525 to $1,100
- foundation crack repair (injection method, cost per crack): $500
- acoustic ceiling (suspended): $6 per sq. ft.
- baseboard / door / window casing: $4 per linear ft.
- drywall over plaster: $3 to $4 per sq. ft.
- plaster (over existing plaster): $3 to $4 per sq. ft.
- stucco / stipple: $3 per sq. ft.
- walls (insulations / drywall): $4 per sq. ft.
- painting walls (3 coats): $2 per sq. ft.
- wallpaper: $6 to $11 per sq. ft.
#6 Outdoors & landscaping
19.4% of RE/MAX brokers said homebuyers are setting their sights on the great outdoors with landscaping and outdoor features becoming a popular “must-have” item. This trend became amplified during the course of the pandemic, which saw people spending more time in and around their homes, and buyers looking for bigger yards and features such as swimming pools/hot tubs, patios and decks to act as “outdoor living rooms.”
- lay soil & sod: $3 to $6 per sq. ft.
- sprinkler system: $1,200
- concrete retaining wall: $55 per sq. ft.
- wood retaining wall: $45 per sq. ft.
- deck, pressure treated / cedar: $15 to $30 per sq. ft.
- deck, custom designed & built: $55 to $80 per sq. ft.
- patio, concrete: $16 to $25 per sq. ft.
- patio, flagstone / fieldstone: $21 per sq. ft.
- patio, interlock brick / stone: $11 to $16 per sq. ft.
- patio stones: $6 per sq. ft.
- porch flooring: $8 per sq. ft.
- porch railing: $225
- porch skirting: $21 per linear ft.
- porch steps, concrete: $525
- porch steps, wood: $325
- chain-link fence (4-ft. high): $10 to $20 per linear ft.
- cedar fence (5-ft. high): $15 to $30 per linear ft.
- pressure treated wood fence (5-ft. high): $10 to $20 per linear ft.
- reset post in concrete: $80
- vinyl-lined pool (16ft. x 40ft.): $15,000 to $20,000
- concrete-lined pool (16ft. x 40ft.): $30,000+
- pool heater: $2,100
- pump / filter: $1,600
- fiberglass hot tub: $5,250+
* Cost estimates reflect the average basic costs for supplies and installation of building materials in Canada and the U.S., as anticipated for 2019-2020. Costs may vary depending on regions, upgrades, complexity and disposal fees.
Courtesy of REMAX.ca
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